March 25, 2014

The Argument from Design

The argument from design is also called, sometimes, the "teleological argument" or the "argument from final cause". "Teleology" refers to the study of purpose. This argument is the fifth of St. Thomas Aquinas's "five ways"--five arguments for the existence of God, or five ways to demonstrate that God exists.

Dr. Kreeft gives the argument a good treatment in his article "Argument from Design". In this article, he presents a typical, general form of the argument:
"Where there is design, there must be a designer. There is design throughout the universe. Therefore, there must be a universal designer."

Often, someone making this argument will give examples, or they may focus on one example in particular. For instance, Christian philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig often uses the fine-tuning of the universe to argue from design:
"The fit is due to law, chance, or design. It is not due to law or chance. Therefore, it is due to design."

Fr. Robert Spitzer, of the Magis Center has argued in great detail from the findings of modern physics that point to a design or purpose to the universe.

Dr. Kreeft has also argued from a smaller and more personal case: the human mind. If our brains are just the result of random processes, why do we trust them? We wouldn't trust a computer that was programmed that way.

Thanks for your patience with the slow posting. We'll continue at a more regular pace with other arguments, including those from contingency and ontonology. We'll also look at the sometimes-confusing phrase "cosmological argument" and diagram how the various names for all these arguments relate.

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